On the surface the Perry farm in New England looks like a regular pastoral home; there's Aunt Vee and Uncle George, Mr Angelini the handyman and Winnie the maid and the twins, Niles and Holland Perry. Bombing around the farmyard armed to the teeth with catapults, fishing rods and tins full of little treasures, they seem like the angelic image of gee-whizz kids, but beneath their innocent exteriors something is beginning to rankle. What is the strange game that they play with their babushka that lets them see into the minds of others? And what happened to Father in the apple cellar?

The premise sounds interesting, but unfortunately time has not been kind to The Other. What might once have been seen as a dark and mysteriously chilling tale of rural horror feels ridden with cliches and the supernatural goings on don't live up to that which modern audiences have become accustomed.

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What was once terrifying is now hardly even unsettling. The shocks that might have startled viewers 30 years ago are all but obliterated by the desensitising effects of three decades of gore-spattered progress in the genre and a fairly unconvincing Thirties setting. The mediocre special effects and sometimes jarring camerawork don't help the situation and although he's credited with making To Kill A Mockingbird, Robert Mulligan's direction isn't particularly striking, or memorable. The Jerry Goldsmith score offers no respite either - this hasn't the menacing tones of The Omen's dark masses and feels light, generic and completely out of place.

The Other is more like a spooky episode of The Waltons than precursor to The Exorcist, as it claims to be. Seventies horror aficionados may find it interesting, possibly to see the place where some of their favourite cliches originated, but fans of modern horror will just be bored.

Reviewed on: 15 Apr 2006
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A pair of twins dabble with the supernatural in the backwoods of 1930s New England.
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Director: Robert Mulligan

Writer: Tom Tryon

Starring: Uta Hagen, Diana Muldaur, Chris Udvarnoky, Martin Udvarnoky, Norma Connolly, Victor French

Year: 1972

Runtime: 96 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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